Community and Economic Development

BACKGROUND | DIRECT CLIENT SERVICES | COMMUNITY PARTNERS

PRO BONO PARTNERSHIPS | RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS


BACKGROUND

Brooklyn A is one of the few legal services programs in the country to develop a sustained, neighborhood-based Community and Economic Development (CED) Program through which we have represented over 100 community-based organizations (CBOs) and community development corporations (CDCs) in low- income neighborhoods. CED attorneys, as general counsel, provide CBOs and CDCs with ongoing, comprehensive legal counsel in their daily operation and functioning and at all stages of project and program development, thereby increasing their client’s organizational strength, the effectiveness of the services they deliver and their ability to meet their community’s needs.

The groups that we represent, amongst a variety of community services, seek to: create, develop, and operate new and rehabilitated affordable housing, provide high quality health care services, develop community-wide sustainable development strategies, provide support and educational services to youth from infancy through college (or GED), and generally work for social and economic justice in local low-income communities. Our partnerships create minority and community-owned businesses and jobs, and these building projects have increasingly been improved upon with “green” engineering that works toward environmental sustainability. Find more information about our Green Building Law and Justice Project here.

Our local partnerships are longstanding, with most collaborations persisting for two decades or more. These relationships enable Brooklyn A to serve as the legal catalyst fueling community-initiated projects that create critical infrastructure and improve the quality of life for struggling Brooklyn families.

An evaluation commissioned by the Legal Services Corporation in 2000 noted that Brooklyn A’s “CED program [is] one of the nation’s outstanding examples of [community] advocacy and development.” The report continued to note that Brooklyn A’s “demonstrated a connectedness to the community that must be considered one of its fundamental strengths. The program’s housing and community development work could not have been successful without this long-term sincere connection. …[Brooklyn A] has an important story to tell other programs in New York and throughout the country about the benefits that can flow from long-term collaboration and representation of nonprofit corporations.


DIRECT CLIENT SERVICES

We work both as in-house and special project counsel to community-based organizations. Brooklyn A attorneys offer nonprofit clients ongoing, long-term representation that encompasses the full range of services that private sector corporations routinely receive from their corporate counsel.

Our attorneys act as counselors, negotiators, tacticians, strategists and troubleshooters.

The transactional legal services we provide include:

  • Real estate, including pre-development coordination and title and loan closings
  • The drafting and negotiation of contracts
  • Financing (public and private)
  • Regulatory representation and negotiations with governmental authorities
  • Advice and council with regard to public and private funding for capital projects
  • Corporate and tax advice
  • Environmentally sustainable development
  • Employee relations
  • Corporate formation, including incorporation, obtaining tax-exempt status and organizational structuring
  • Litigation, when necessary


COMMUNITY PARTNERS and CLIENTS

Brooklyn A partners with the community-based nonprofit organizations in order to achieve success, which have included:

  • The Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center, Inc.
  • Borough Development Group
  • Brooklyn Congregations United, Inc.
  • Brooklyn East Youth Sports and Recreation
  • Brownsville Community Development Corporation
  • Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Inc.
  • Cypress Hills Child Care Corporation
  • Howard Houses Tenant Council, Inc.
  • Make the Road Action Fund, Inc.
  • Make the Road New York
  • Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation
  • Progressive People Movement, Inc.
  • Raven’s Elementary School
  • Urban Health Plan, Inc


PRO BONO PARTNERSHIPS

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Social Justice Initiatives of Columbia Law School


RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Our attorneys provide legal support and representation for community-led efforts to remedy social and economic inequalities. Recent highlights include:

Health and Jobs

Brooklyn A worked closely with the Brownsville Community Development Corporation (BCDC), also known as the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center (BMS) in creating a community-based nonprofit health center. Brooklyn A assisted BCDC with accessing funding for the construction of this health care center through the first New York State tax exempt bond financing. This financing model, innovatively utilized by Brooklyn A and our clients, resulted in the creation of the Primary Care Development Corporation which has enabled BCDC and dozens of other health care centers to expand their facilities. BCDC provides critical health care services to thousands of individuals each year from eight different facilities – all of which have been created with Brooklyn A’s legal representation. Because of the expansion, BCDC has provided crucial health services in addition to becoming the second largest private employer in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.

Through its most recent project, Towards a 21st Century Medical Home, the BCDC is engaged in a multi-site capital expansion and improvement project to increase its primary care capacity in the high need communities of Central Brooklyn and East New York. The project involves the construction of new units and the renovation of existing health and wellness facilities.

Education

Brooklyn A served as counsel to a local coalition of parents and the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Inc. (CHLDC), participating in a citywide coalition whose task was to create new mechanisms to fund and produce additional school capacity.  As one result of that work, a public “New Vision” school was constructed in a largely minority, low-income community. The Cypress Hills Community School serves 450 K-8th grade children a year. It is the first green public school building in Brooklyn that is owned and operated by a not-for-profit community based organization and operates under a unique lease back arrangement with the NYC Department of Education.

Housing

Brooklyn A has worked closely with Cypress Hills Local Development Corporporation, Inc. (CHLDC) for over 20 years in constructing affordable housing for low-income individuals and associations. In 2012, Brooklyn A represented CHLDC in its title transfer/construction loan closing and low-income housing tax credit syndication of CypressVillage. CypressVillage involves the construction of three buildings (28 very low-income rental units and one super unit) on three non-contiguous parcels in the Cypress Hills neighborhood of East Brooklyn. The project has incorporated green design and construction including CHLDC’s first modular construction project.